CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – For years, e-cigarette companies have pushed the idea that vaping is a safer alternative to traditional smoking.
Those claims resulted in the FDA banning the famous manufacturer Juul from selling vape products in the U.S.
Last week, for one day Empire Smoke Shop in Charlotte could not sell the small white boxes labeled ‘an alternative for adult smokers.’
“I feel like every six months, something will come out, and people will say, ‘Oh, it’s getting removed.’ Then panic strikes, and everyone comes and buys everything out,” employee Carsyn McCullough said. “It’s a billion-dollar company that comes back that sells off the shelves every time we have it back in.”
Novant health officials call the Juul ban a ‘major win’ in the fight against nicotine and the epidemic.
COPD program coordinator at Novant Health, Alyssa Dittner, said since vaping is still relatively new, doctors do not fully understand the long-term impact on users.
While teens under 18 are prohibited from purchasing Juuls, she said they are popping up in high schools across the U.S. and causing addiction.
“So not only do e-cigarettes contain the chemical that causes irreversible lung damage, but it also impacts the brain function and memory,” Dittner said.
A day after the FDA’s order, the Federal Appeals Court issued a temporary block to the ban, allowing stores to sell Juul products again.
At Empire Smoke Shop, McCullough says customers bought in bulk not only Juuls but other vape products.
“I saw people come in. All of our NOVOS sold out; people are buying double the amount of wraps that they would normally purchase, juice bottles. I think people were just scared,” McCullough said.
Hundreds if not thousands of other e-cigarettes will continue to line stores shelved with or without Juul products.
Dittner says banning Juul may sound like a slight drop in the bucket, but it’s a start.
“This is a win, and we are going to take it as that and keep moving forward and keep trying to fight for our nation’s youth,” Dittner said.